We study how job seekers respond to wage announcements by assigning wages randomly to pairs of otherwise similar vacancies in a large number of professions. High wage vacancies attract more interest, in contrast with much of the evidence based on observational data. Some applicants only show interest in the low wage vacancy even when they were exposed to both. Both findings are core predictions of theories of directed/competitive search where workers trade off the wage with the perceived competition for the job. A calibrated model with multiple applications and on-the-job search induces magnitudes broadly in line with the empirical findings.
How wage announcements affect job search behavior – a field experiment
In a field experiment, we study how job seekers respond to posted wages by assigning wages
randomly to pairs of otherwise similar vacancies in a large number of professions. Higher wages
attract significantly more interest, but still a non-trivial number of applicants only reveal an interest
in the low wage vacancy – qualitatively in line with a directed search model with multiple applications and on-the-job search.
Journal of Political Economy, 2017, 124(1), 224-264. With G. Grossman & E. Helpman. (simulations, matlab). We introduce two-sided heterogeneity into a Hecksher-Ohlin-style trade model to study factor reallocation and wage inequality within and across sectors. Go to paper
Journal of Economic Theory, 2010/145, 1354-1385. With Jan Eeckhout. Search affects competing mechanisms: if meetings with low types reduce those of high types, price posting and market separation replace auctions. Go to paper
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008/123(2), pp. 621-661. With A. Postlewaite. [technical appendix] In a model of social learning, the better informed (wealthier) consumers get preferential service because their consumption signals high quality to others. Go to paper
American Economic Review, 2015, Vol 105 (10), 3030-3060. With Leo Kaas. We propose a tractable competitive search model with heterogeneous multi-worker firms, and investigate firm growth and business cycles. Go to paper
Review of Economic Studies, 2019 86(4): 1411-1447. With Michèle Belot and Paul Muller. We develop and evaluate experimentally a novel tool that redesigns the job search process by providing tailored online advice about related occupations. Go to paper
International Economic Review, 2011, 52(1), pp 85-104. With M. Galenianos and G. Virag. [technical appendix] In directed search with a finite population, minimum wages improve employment but reduce output and efficiency, and reverse for unemployment benefits. Go to paper